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Schrödinger's cat - quick question

  1. Feb 1, 2016 #1
    Considering only the Copenhagen interpretation, discounting the cat as an observer, and assuming wave function collapse at the time of opening the box - if you find the cat alive, has it aged whilst in the box?

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2016 #2
    Yes. Otherwise, this would be a sure way to secure nearly eternal life. Set up a ridiculously low probability quantum event to kill you, and move into a box.
  4. Feb 1, 2016 #3
    Agree re eternal life. I am just not sure how the cat can age unless it exists in a alive state it's whole time in the box, rather than the neither alive nor dead state that I thought was the case. Probably a simple answer but seems to be escaping me.
  5. Feb 1, 2016 #4
    Well, if we take Schrödinger's example literally (he actually devised this thought experiment with some tongue in cheek to argue against the orthodox Copenhagen interpretation) then the cat would be in a superposition of a dead and disintegrating cat and a live and aging cat. So if you find the cat alive, it would also have properly aged during the box time.
  6. Feb 1, 2016 #5
    Ok thanks. It seems that the superposition is not a static thing, but evolves with time as the separate states would.
  7. Feb 1, 2016 #6
    Exactly. In a superpostion of states, the states that are superpositioned will still evolve as time goes by.
  8. Feb 1, 2016 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    Of course it has. According to QM here in the macro world everything is common-sense classical. The quantum weirdness occurred at the particle detector - after that nothing strange happened.

    The issue is using just the QM formalism proving its like that. Great progress has been made but a few issues remain. Start a new thread if you want to know more about that.

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